The Slatest

Rand Paul Backs Voluntary Vaccinations Because They Can Cause “Profound Mental Disorders”

Rand Paul offers support for keeping vaccinations voluntary.

Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images

Rand Paul, like any good would-be presidential candidate, is a big fan of “freedom.” When it comes to whether parents should have the freedom not to vaccinate their kids, and put everyone else’s kids at risk, Paul plunged into the growing American vaccination debate telling radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday: “I’m not anti-vaccine at all, but particularly, most of them ought to be voluntary,” said Paul. “What happens if you have somebody not wanting to take the smallpox vaccine and it ruins it for everybody else? I think there are times in which there can be some rules, but for the first part it ought to be voluntary.”

The issue of nonvaccination is now—believe it or not—a growing public health concern as parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids for whatever witchcraft reason have led to a recent outbreak of previously eradicated diseases like measles. Chris Christie, another presumptive presidential candidate, bumbled into the vaccination discussion offering up medical gems on Monday such as these: “Not every vaccine is created equal, and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

Rand Paul, who also happens to be a doctor—an ophthalmologist—didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “some rules,” but did (kinda, sorta) clarify his comments later on CNBC by generally going against what the scientific research has found on vaccinations:

“I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” said Paul. “I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they’re a good thing. But I think the parents should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children, parents own their children, and it is an issue of freedom.”